20 December 2010

When the Dark comes rising... YoRY Part 2

I told you how I began rereading The Dark is Rising Sequence about a year ago. Well, with Solstice (and the setting for book two) nearly upon us, I figured I'd expound a bit more. Not that I sat down and read all five books in a row; I read other stuff in between and didn't finish rereading book five, Silver on the Tree, until August or so. But let's stick to Susan Cooper for the moment. Two of the five books in the sequence are Newbery Award winners, which says a great deal about their quality. And that's not my opinion, that's fact. You don't win a Newbery without damned good reason, and The Dark is Rising (book 2) and The Grey King (book 4) have damned good reason. If you don't know what a Newbery Award is, well, I'm very sorry to hear it. Click this link to be taken to ALA's page of Newbery goodness. You might find you've read something on the list and didn't even realize it. I mean, it has been awarded since 1922, so chances are good. I read two other winners over the course of this year, including last year's mystery category winner, but I'll get to those another day.

I'm still pondering on the brilliance of Susan Cooper's YA twist on King Arthur's story. Although, that's not really accurate on my part. It's not about Arthur, per se, but about the mythology, truth, and artifacts related to Britain's greatest king. (Yes, I believe he was real. And I believe that, barring intervention from Doctor Who and his TARDIS, we'll never know how much of the story that's been passed is fact and how much fiction. Except Lancelot. He's pure French fiction.) It's the consequences of Arthur's actions in his own time, and how they affect things and, more importantly, people in the present day of the books that are the action of the story. More than even that, it's about the greatest and last battle of the Light against the Dark. Great battles have been fought over the millennia, but this one is for all the marbles, as the saying goes. There are difficult choices facing the adults and even more facing the children who are our heroes throughout the sequence. Children and adults alike are fallible and human; even those who are more than human make mistakes and must face the consequences. I think this has to have had a profound influence on me as a kid that persists to this day: I don't believe in easy wins for fictional characters. If there is no sacrifice, it cheapens the gains. You know what I mean? I'm all for a happily ever after (HEA), but I don't want it to be too easy and I don't want it to be a guarantee. And, really, I don't have to have an HEA as long as the ending is the right one for the story. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, for example, is a book with hard choices and sacrifices, and while it doesn't exactly have a happy ending, it has the right ending. I love that book. I should reread it more often. It's not like it takes very long.

Do you prefer your books to have a guaranteed HEA, or are you content with the right ending, whether it's happy or not?

15 December 2010

2010 - My Year of Reading Youthfully, Part 1

About this time last year, I began to reread one of my all-time favourite book series, or, more accurately in this case, my favourite book sequence. And if that doesn't give it away, I will: Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising Sequence. Don't ask me why it's a "sequence" and not a "series"; I do not know. Nor do I care. The point is, these are some of the best books ever written, and the fact that they are YA books makes that all the more impressive. Okay. So. My point? My point:

I began with the first book, Over Sea, Under Stone, shortly before Winter Solstice so that when the Solstice arrived I could be on Book 2, The Dark is Rising, which takes place over about one week starting on Solstice Eve. And thus began my Year of Reading Youthfully. I was burnt out on "grown-up" books. They were too long, the print too small, too poorly written, too depressing, and basically just too damned tedious. YA, on the other hand, offered solace. They are generally quick reads (I did not reread the Harry Potter series this year.), with relatively large print, heavy but not too heavy subject matter, and always well-written (I chose well.) It helps that I'm in a book club specifically for YA literature. I don't feel I need an excuse to read kids' books, but some adults can be, shall we say, shy about their chosen reading material, and so the book club was an excuse for them to read YA books.

For those of you who haven't read The Dark is Rising Sequence... What is wrong with you!? Okay, okay. Just kidding. ... Sort of. It's a fantastical retelling of Arthurian legend that ranges across the English and Welsh countrysides. From the Holy Grail to Arthur's Seat, three ordinary kids and two quite extraordinary ones must battle the Dark, on the side of the Light, to do nothing less than save the world from eternal evil. ... Yes. These are kids' books, and they are brilliant. I first read them in elementary school, and have reread them several times over the years. They never lose anything in the retelling, and indeed, gain much as I get older and my life experience changes. These books taught me that there is always something worth fighting for, and you have to fight for it when you recognize it, even though, win or lose, that fight will come with a price.

TheLostLand.com - Official Susan Cooper Website that I discovered just this minute. (Hey, gimme a break! The first time I read any of her books, there was no internet, so why would I go looking for this until I wanted to share with you?)

I'll be posting more in the weeks to come about the other YA books I've read over the past year. Check back and see what I think about NZ kids' lit, YA GLBTQ, and old-fashioned modern-written fairy tales!

Got a favourite kids' or YA book you would recommend? Let me know!

25 November 2010

NaNoWriMo Winner!

I've managed to do it again. For the fifth year in a row, I've won NaNoWriMo! Of course, as was the case in all the previous years, the book isn't actually done yet. If the previous two in this series are any indication, I have about another 30 - 35K before the end. But, hey, that's fine by me! I'll be taking today off and picking up again on Friday. We'll see how close I can get to finished by the 30th.

I hope everyone one in the U.S. is enjoying their Thanksgiving! And for those in other locales, you can be thankful that it's almost the weekend, right? ;-D

22 November 2010

I'm sorry, but *what* season is this?

I know there are places in North America where snow in mid- to late-November is commonplace. Places were people don't blink when, days before Thanksgiving, the temperature and the snow fall. THIS IS NOT ONE OF THEM. And yet, here I sit, while outside my living room window, the wind blows about the snow that fell today, making it look as though it is still snowing. Now, it didn't snow all day, nor did it snow terribly heavily, but any snow when it is still technically autumn, is more than a little mind-bending. And this was enough to accumulate on the trees, cars, and sidewalks, and even the street out front has got some left from this morning and a fresh coating over that. Weird. Weird, weird, weird.

On the positive side, I didn't have anywhere I had to go, plenty to do inside my house, and cozy kitties to keep me company. I'll be going out tonight for my friend's birthday, though. Fortunately she only lives a few miles away.

Also on the positive side, the weather gave me a great excuse to sit on my butt and pound out today's word count for NaNoWriMo. It's not even 5:00 and the laundry's done and I've written 2500 words on my NaNovel. And the show sure has been pretty to look at. And yet... IT'S NOVEMBER, NOT JANUARY!

Okay. I'm over it now. Or I will be. Eventually. When it melts.


ETA: I take it back. We're not going out tonight to celebrate my friend's b-day. The hill is, naturally, slicker than snot, and I won't ask the hubs to go driving on that. He could handle it. It's the idiots and the unlucky I fear.

11 November 2010

Official: New Contract!

Now that both the company rep and I have signed the contract, I can annouce my good news. I sold another novella to Torquere Press!

Compass Hearts is set in the same world as, well, everything published so far except False Dawn. Here's a little blurbage to, I hope, pique your interest.

As the fourth son of merchant parents, Matthew Morgan has always been superfluous. The only guidance he ever received was to behave himself and to stay out of the way. Now, at a new university half a world away from home, he must discover who he is and what he wants. The only trouble is, he's never made a decision in his life.

When Ash Thearon meets Matthew--the handsome fellow student he's been ogling all quarter--he finds him sweet, sexy, and more than a little puzzling. To solve that puzzle, he must first collect all the pieces--something more easily said than done.

The new friends quickly become lovers, but Matthew's limited life experience has taught him only how to follow another's lead. Ash wants more than that; he wants the give and take of an equal. As the lovers' holiday of Afan Valen approaches, Matthew's tendency to try too hard to please others leaves Ash wondering how to teach him independence without losing him.

So, does that make you curious? I certainly hope so! I'll update again when I have more news, and I will, of course, be having a party. I just have to get a release date before I can properly plan.

02 November 2010

NaNoWriMo has commenced!

Technically, it commenced yesterday. I, however, wrote not a word yesterday, so I began today. I managed to reach my one-day word-count goal by lunch, and I just moments ago reached that same goal for today. I am now 33 words over my personal goal of 2K/day. Woot! I can only hope the rest of the months goes as well.

29 October 2010

My brain scares me.

You know you're bored when you're doing random websearches that eventually lead your brain to the following:

Someone should make a steampunk Borg!

At which point you (you guessed it) websearch it and find this picture.

And you proceed to think:

Well, it's pretty good. The arm looks smashing! But it could be better if he did more with the clothing part of the costume and added the right Borg-ish make-up.

. . .

I have a very scary brain sometimes.

28 October 2010

Friday Halloween Quizzage

Here's a particularaly silly quiz with a particularly silly result for Halloween. (Although it occurs to me that this isn't too far off what I look like in my Witch costume for Macbeth.)

Quiz! Which Hollywood Starlet Are You Best Suited To Dress-Up As This Halloween?
Lady Gaga Your style is daring, to say the least. It shocks those around you. This Halloween, try to let loose, leave your lonely studio for just one night, and have fun with friends.
Fun quizzes, surveys & blog quizzes by Quibblo

26 October 2010

Autumn Traditions

Autumn has struck here with a vengeance. Lots of wind and rain--and the small power outages that tend to come with the wind and the rain. I love autumn, though. I love the wacky weather. I love the colours that the leaves turn. There are a couple of streets near me where the trees all look like flavours of jam. There's apricot and plum and golden raspberry peach. Makes me hungry for a PB&J just looking at them. Halloween decorations are appearing in people's yards, too. I put mine out Saturday--just before the weather hit. I haven't done that the past two years because I haven't been home on Halloween, and I've missed the ritual digging out of the big plastic bin and the unpacking of the decorations.

Another autumn tradition I enjoy is roasting pumpkins. I'll do that next week. It makes the whole house smell pumpkiny good! I'm a freak for autumn foods, you see. Last night it was butternut squash enchiladas. Last week it was pasta with mushroom sauce. The week before was sweet potato and chick pea stew. Mmmm! The flavours of fall!

Let's not forget the tradition of watching Kenneth Branagh's Henry V on St. Crispin's Day. (That was yesterday, in case you didn't know. This year is the 595th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt.)

And last but far from least, there's the autumn--or more specifically November--tradition of NaNoWriMo. I'm participating again this year. This is year five for me. I've "won" every year, but this time I'm not so sure I'll make it. I'm even less prepared than usual, I'm afraid. We'll see. I am a competitive person, even when I'm just competing with myself, so perhaps I'll bring in another one. ::fingers crossed::

So, what about you? What autumnal traditions do you most enjoy?

23 October 2010

Novella Submission

Submitted a novella to Torquere Press yesterday. It's a great book, if I say so myself, and it deserves some love (by someone besides me and my beta readers). It's in the same universe as all my other stories except False Dawn. Cross your fingers for me, please.

18 October 2010

Monday Quizzage

Clearly, it is a productive Monday in my world.

The Zombie Bite Calculator

Created by Oatmeal

Really, though, I have three manuscripts...wait... ::thinking hard:: ...four manuscripts out with beta readers right now. And I'm making mental notes for NaNoWriMo, which fast approacheth.

And laundry. There is always laundry on Monday.

10 September 2010

Keep trying!

Some of you who are participating in the Torquere Lucky 7 Scavenger Hunt may have had trouble getting to my website to hunt down the card there last night or this morning. Seems there was a bit of server troubled that's been worked, at least out for the moment. There may be a brief outage in the near future, but that will come with warning that I will do my best to pass on to you.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

03 September 2010

Lucky 7 Contest

The contest is underway! Have you popped over to Torquere's contest page to check out the nifty gifties? There are free books, weekly gift baskets, and even a Nook ebook reader! Dude? How cool is that? There are links there to all the authors who are pariticipating in the scavenger hunt, too, so go check it out! Start gathering those cards and maybe you'll be one of the lucky winners!

31 August 2010

Torquere's Lucky 7 Anniversary Festivities!

Hey there, gang! It's Torquere's 7th Anniversary and we're all celebrating! I'll be participating in the scavenger hunt and there are some seriously cool prizes to be won! Just check out the official press release below. Yeah. Right there. ::points:: Check it out!

ETA: I believe that the contest link (below) won't be active/up-to-date until tomorrow. So if you click through and it doesn't look quite right, just give it until 1 September. Then...a-hunting we will go, a-hunting we will go, heigh-ho the derry-o a-hunting we will go!

Torquere Press Celebrates 7th Anniversary!

Seven years?! No, we can hardly believe it either. Seven years of bringing readers the best, the sexiest, the most romantic GLBT fiction. And to celebrate, we're giving away prizes -- great themed gift baskets, gift certificates for free books every day, and a scavenger hunt that will give readers a chance to collect a deck of cards that will win big - -a Nook from Barnes & Noble!

Readers will get the chance to "collect cards" by visiting each participating author's website, blog, or Facebook page. By collecting all the cards and filling in the form, players have the chance to win free books daily, a gift basket once each week, (including BDSM, werewolf and ménage themed baskets), and be entered in the grand prize drawing for the Nook.

We'll also be having random sales via our blog, GLBT Romance, Facebook, and Twitter:

With bestselling GLBT romance authors like Chris Owen, Tory Temple, Kiernan Kelly, P.D.Singer, Sean Michael, and B.A. Tortuga, you'll have a blast playing along. Just log onto Torquere Press website http://www.torquerepress.com/contest/index.html
Check out the contest page, and start hunting!

So, ya feel lucky, dude? Let's play!

27 August 2010

Return of Friday Quizzage!

At least for this week. Knicked this from a friend of mine. It's quite a positive result to start off my weekend.

You are the World

Completion, Good Reward.

The World is the final card of the Major Arcana, and as such represents saturnian energies, time, and completion.

The World card pictures a dancer in a Yoni (sometimes made of laurel leaves). The Yoni symbolizes the great Mother, the cervix through which everything is born, and also the doorway to the next life after death. It is indicative of a complete circle. Everything is finally coming together, successfully and at last. You will get that Ph.D. you've been working for years to complete, graduate at long last, marry after a long engagement, or finish that huge project. This card is not for little ends, but for big ones, important ones, ones that come with well earned cheers and acknowledgements. Your hard work, knowledge, wisdom, patience, etc, will absolutely pay-off; you've done everything right.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

If only it were all true. ::sigh::

Happy weekend!

17 August 2010

iPod as Prophet?

x-posted from Slash & Burn

I had my iPod on shuffle the other day. You know shuffle. That setting that supposedly randomizes all the music on your iPod and plays whateverthehell randomness that the algorithms choose? Yeah, that. Well, this past weekend, my iPod "randomly" shuffled between Blue Öyster Cult's "Club Ninja" in order and a witchy-themed playlist I have, with the occasional smattering of tunes by my favorite Scottish rock band, Runrig. The conclusion reached by me and the friend riding in the car with me at the time? Either it was telling me to go back to my old m/m Star Trek fanfiction, or I need to write some short stories in the universe where my GLBT paranormal novels are set. On one hand, I love that fanfiction, but I have a very hard time convincing myself to write anything these days that couldn't potentially be published. On the other hand, considering that the aforementioned paranormal novels aren't yet contracted, let alone published, and that I only submitted the first one to a publisher a couple of weeks ago, this short story collection idea seems a little...what's the word? Ambitious? Optimistic? Nuts? Maybe all of the above and then some. And yet this is precisely what I did. I wrote the first short story (and I do mean short – only 4200 words, give or take) that was uppermost in my mind. I have solid ideas for two more, and thoughts of two more after that. All of which makes me wonder: Just how random is the iPod shuffle function? Was it just a wacky algorithm or was it tuned into something greater? The world may never know... [cue Twilight Zone theme...] ;-)

11 August 2010

It's the waiting that kills me

It's almost time for me to follow up on a manuscript I sent off in early June.

It'll be 12 weeks (if I'm lucky) before I hear back on another manuscript I sent off this week.

I have two manuscripts out with beta readers. One due back by Labor Day. The others...who knows?

At least once rehearsals start for my next show, I'll have some distraction. In the meantime, I wait.

Cue Inigo Montoya.

28 July 2010

False Dawn Blog Party - WINNERS!

Hey there! My week has been nuts, and it's only Wednesday. Oy! However, I have managed to get my act together enough to use my handy-dandy random winner generator to pick winners from this past weekend's new release blog party!

The winner of the coffee mug with the awesome book cover on it is from over on the TQ Social LJ:


The winner of the free download of False Dawn is from right here on the blog:


If you would each be so kind as to contact me at "maia at maiastrong dot com" (with all the necessary conversions to make that a real email address, of course) I can arrange prize delivery.

Foggynight, I will just need a mailing address for you. And, Erika, I need an email address and your preferred format for your ebook.

Congratulations to the winners and thanks to everyone who came out party it up at the space barbecue!

26 July 2010

False Dawn - Author Extra!

Where did the weekend go? And on top of that, where did this morning go!? (Okay, I know where this morning went. It went to making two apple pies for the freezer. And there are still apples left for a nice crumble.)

It's the last day of my space barbecue and I've had great fun! I hope you have, too. To celebrate, I have the author extra I wrote especially for Release Day. Just because some lines got crossed and the book actually came out Saturday doesn't mean we can't keep the party going through today. Right? Right!

And along those lines, here's that Release Day Author Extra I mentioned. Hope you like it!

False Dawn by Maia Strong
Available from Torquere Press




NEWS ANCHOR: Good morning. Here’s the early news. Our lead story, a senior engineer has vanished into thin air. Yoshiko Didier reports.


DIDIER: Thank you, Steven. I’m standing outside Section 4 of Sector AP-10 on Aconcagua Deck. It’s beyond here that Senior Engineer Dayan Andrus supposedly disappeared over forty hours ago.

DIDIER CONT. [IRONIC TONE]: Of course, we can’t access the area directly without authorization due to the security precautions around the File Room, and that authorization has not been forthcoming. But is it just the sensitivity of what’s behind this door that’s keeping us out?


DIDIER: What you’re looking at here is the schematic for the section behind me. You’ll note the lack of doors and internal access hatches. There aren’t even ventilation ducts in the area of the alleged disappearance.


DIDIER: Security claims to have no leads in the case. Judging by the obvious inaccessibility of the location, one might not be surprised. But can Lažna Zora’s vaunted security force really be so in the dark as that? Or could there be more here than meets the eye? I believe there’s more to this story than we’re being told. Could this disappearance be a case of experimentation gone wrong? Might Engineer Andrus have been the subject, knowing or unknowing, of new technology designed to transport a human being from one location to another instantaneously?


DIDIER CONT.: I spoke earlier today with the Assistant Chief Engineer Alan Zamyatin who assured me, quite emphatically, that no one in Engineering was performing any experiments along these lines. He denounced such ideas as, and I quote, “ridiculous” and “absurd science-fiction”. Doth the gentleman protest too much? Chief Engineer Johnston was unavailable for comment.


DIDIER CONT.: Given such vehement denial of even the possibility of this new technology, one is forced to wonder what we aren’t being told. Whatever happened here, whatever Engineering’s involvement, or not, in the alleged disappearance, it seems highly unlikely that Security would be completely ignorant of that department’s activities--whether those activities are “secret” or not. Yet, if they aren’t ignorant? I, for one, don’t like to consider the alternatives. This is Yoshiko Didier reporting.



Remember, just comment to be entered to win one of two FABULOUS PRIZES! You have until midnight Pacific Time tonight to enter! I'll announce the winners in the next couple of days. :-D

25 July 2010

False Dawn - Excerpt 2

Here's a rather steamier excerpt than the previous one, so you might not want to read this if you're at work. Unless, of course, you work somewhere totally cool and awesome.

False Dawn by Maia Strong
Available from Torquere Press

"Hi!" Galen barely got the greeting out before Dayan was through the doorway and on him.

Dayan grasped him by his broad shoulders and pulled him into a searing kiss. Startled but willing, Galen opened his mouth to Dayan's searching tongue, and Dayan took full advantage. He swept his tongue along Galen's teeth and tickled the roof of Galen’s mouth, reveling in the taste and feeling, the warmth and the wetness.

When at last they came up for breath, both men were panting. Galen's brown eyes were nearly all pupil, and Dayan was more than ready to fall into them. He'd waited all damned day to show his lover just how proud he was of that promotion.

"Congratulations, Detective," he said, his voice a husky purr of desire.

"I take it you don't want to go out to celebrate." Galen's expression and tone were wry.

Dayan returned the look with a lascivious, one-sided grin. "What do you think?" He pressed his hard, aching cock against Galen's thigh, just below the hip joint, and rolled a little from one side to the other. Galen groaned and leaned in for another devouring kiss. Dayan happily obliged.

Again, they only parted when they had to stop for air. Gasping, Galen smiled broadly. Dayan loved that wide mouth, those straight, white teeth, and dove in for more before either of them properly caught their breath. His head felt light, but whether from lack of oxygen or overload of lust, he didn't know. Didn't care.

Dayan pushed against his lover until they were brought up short by the couch that stood against the outer bulkhead. Dayan released him again and gave him enough of a shove that Galen lost his balance and sat heavily. Without a pause, Dayan straddled him where he sat and began to undo the buttons on his new dress shirt--as much an indication of his new rank as the badge that glinted at Dayan from his belt.

The release of each button was followed by a kiss, a nip, a bite, of Galen's dark, smooth, muscled chest. When Dayan reached the waistband of Galen's tailored black trousers, he tugged the shirt tails up and out, found the last button, and, bent double over his lover's lap, placed a kiss over Galen's navel. He alternately circled it with the tip of his tongue, flicking at the little indentation, and sucked a mouthful of flesh around it. Galen squirmed and shook, just as Dayan knew he would.

Dayan sat up straight, one hand on the clasp of Galen's belt, the other fondling his lover's balls through the taut fabric of his slacks. The outline of his erection was hard pressed just to the left of the fly, but Dayan held off from grasping it. He's been anticipating this all day; he had to take a little revenge and make his lover wait a bit, too.

He leaned in and whispered in Galen's ear. "Is there anything you particularly want tonight?" A gentle squeeze on his sac that made Galen gasp and groan.

"Any…requests?" A tender nibble at the shell of his ear. "Or do you trust me…" Nip. "…to make you…" Nuzzle. "…scream?"

Galen's breath came in short gasps, and Dayan knew he had him. They'd played this game many times, and Galen had never once turned down that particular offer. He looked up into Dayan's gaze and grinned, equal parts defiance and fervor.

"Dare you."

False Dawn - Review!

Okay. So. Much to my surprise, I discovered that False Dawn is available for purchase as off...YESTERDAY! (The wrong book cover is on that page, FYI. I'll be emailing about it shortly. Although the cover that is there intrigues me and I plan to go find out what that book is about shortly, too. :-D )

The review that's posted is rockin'! I'm now going to be happy dancing all through cycle class this morning. ::bounce, bounce::

I'll be back after class to party some more!

24 July 2010

False Dawn - Space Barbecue!

It's SATURDAY and the weather here in deep space is perfect for a backyard barbecue in the hydroponics bay! I've got the plasma grill going and there are burgers (bothy synthesized proteins and real beef!) ready to go on it. Pour yourself a space beer or mix up a space cocktail and make yourselves at home. The UV rays are strictly monitored so there's no need for sunscreen, and on of the best things about barbecuing in deep space... no bugs!

Our hero, Galen, is a big fan of chili cheese dogs and fries, while his hubby is more into broiled salmon and rice pilaf. Me, I'm happy either way. ;-) I think at this bbq, Galen would toss a big T-bone on the grill and Dayan will probably go for some lovely fish cooked in a foil packet with lemon slices and dill. I'm just having a burger, with cheddar cheese of course!

Usually at a summer barbecue I like to bring the fabulous and simple orzo salad I got off of Space Food Network. It's just orzo, arugula, dried cherries, crumbled myzithra cheese, and a little olive oil and lemon juice, and S&P.

While I'm opening the beers, tell me, what do you like to bring to a potluck or barbecue? Do you have your "usual" or do you like to mix it up?

23 July 2010

False Dawn - Excerpt!

I said I would be posting an excerpt very shortly, so here it is, and would you believe it's only PG13 due to the language? What the hell??

False Dawn by Maia Strong
Available from Torquere Press 26 July 2010

Galen tossed and turned in his bed. Usually it felt too small for two people but tonight, lacking Dayan's warm, solid presence beside him, it was like an ocean of space. He should be used to the absence. They worked opposing shifts often enough that it wasn't uncommon for each to spend a sleep period alone. Several, in fact. On nights like that, he would fall asleep safe in the knowledge that his husband was out doing his job and would come home at the end of his shift.

But not tonight. Tonight he didn't know where Dayan was. He didn't know when or how they would find him. Didn't know if they could.

No. They had to. Losing Dayan forever wasn't an option.

Damn it! They must be missing a clue.

Well, duh. He rolled over, disgusted with himself. Of course they were missing a clue. If they weren't, they'd have solved the case by now and he wouldn't be complaining about how the stupid little bed was too big without his husband to share it.

The afternoon's investigations had left them no further along than the morning's. No one had seen anything. No one knew anything they hadn't already disclosed. No one could explain how a full grown adult male could disappear in a corridor that had no doors, no interior ports, and no access hatches. And the ship's chief engineer assured him and Flint quite soundly that there was no experimental new technology that could teleport anyone or make them invisible or shift them between dimensions or any other "science-fiction nonsense" like that.

"Fuck this!" Giving up sleep for a lost cause, Galen threw off the covers and sat up. "Lights to half."

Dull gray light filled the bedroom, enhancing rather than dispelling its cramped dimensions. There wasn't even satisfactory room to pace. He briefly considered taking a mild sedative; there were some in the bathroom's medicine cabinet. What time was it? He looked at the clock in the wall over the bed.

Blue numbers glowed softly. 02:54.

Okay, so the tranq option was out. He had to be up too soon. He should have taken something hours ago if he was going to go that route. Damn.

He wanted a drink.

Galen made a noise of disgust and shook his head. "Not an option," he said aloud to the empty room. He had to get a grip. Getting wasted--again--wasn't going to do him or Dayan any good.

He padded barefoot into the small living room, the light level adjusting automatically as he went from one room to the next. "Play live video. News feed." He sat heavily on the sofa as the wall holograph of the early a.m. news report was projected. The farm report, which covered all hydroponics and livestock updates, was on. He almost smiled. Who needed a tranquilizer when they had the farm report?

Unfortunately, it was just wrapping up. And the next news at the top of the hour was coverage of Dayan's disappearance. Galen watched with growing anger as the news reader's report got increasingly hyperbolic and sensationalist. Barely veiled suggestions that Engineering was tinkering with secret teleportation technology and an experiment that had gone bad. The woman went on to imply that Security was either complicit in the public deception or they were Engineering's unwitting victims. Either way, it made the force look bad. Incompetent at best, and, at worst, a bunch of conspiring liars.

"Video off!" ordered Galen more forcefully than necessary. The projection shimmered and vanished.

"This is bullshit." He needed to get back to work. Find the clue that eluded him. Find his husband.

Decision made, he rose from the sofa, grabbed a quick shower and shave, and dressed. His presence at the station at this hour would raise some eyebrows, but no one would challenge him. The security scuttlebutt network was almost as fast as the ship's computer core. By now it was a given that everyone in the department knew Galen's husband was missing.

He clipped the PG that Flint had requisitioned yesterday to his belt and headed out.


Remember, comment to be entered to win and tune in for more fun as the weekend progresses!

False Dawn Party Time!

We're kicking of a pre-release online space barbecue today! Woo-hoo! and hailing frequencies open!
False Dawn is an m/m erotic romance detective story (Could I have more qualifiers on that genre, please? I don't think there are enough.) set in deep space (Ah! There we go. Thanks for that.) aboard the generational starship Lažna Zora. Police Detective Galen Traub and his partner must find a missing person, and that person just happens to be Galen's husband, Dayan. Dun-dun-dunnnnn!

To celebrate, I'll be partying the weekend away starting TODAY because all weekends should really start on Friday, don't you agree?

To get things going, I'll be posting an excerpt very shortly. Then, later in the weekend, we'll be grilling up the burgers over our specially designed plasma energy barbecue, toasting the marshmallows over the engine core, and swigging back the space beer!

And of course there will be prizes! Just comment on any of this weekend's party posts and you'll be entered to win either a fabulous coffee mug with the gorgeous cover of False Dawn emblazoned on the side, or a free download of the ebook itself! Wheee!

But wait! There's more! Ask me all your questions about this ridiculously subgenred novella and I'll answer them for you in a special Q&A post on Sunday! So hit me with your whos, whats, wheres, and hows; your whithers, whethers, whences; your wherefores and your big old side orders of whys, and I'll do my level best to come up with at least vaguely coherent answers. (And a bonus contest entry to the first person to recognize that list I just gave you. It's not 100% accurate, but it's close enough for those in the know to know. You know? ;-) )

Now, Party ON!

17 July 2010

Tick-tock, tick-tock

The clock is ticking down to release day and that means it's almost Party Time! The spiffy prize I ordered has arrived and some lucky someone will win it! And another lucky someone will win a free download. Woot!

Watch this space...

14 July 2010

I Write Like...

This site was posted to a list I'm on and naturally I had to waste a few minutes playing with it. I Write Like... You simply paste in a few paragraphs of your own work and it analyses it and tells you who you write like. Here are my results.

For my blog posts, I got...

I write like
Vladimir Nabokov

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

For the unpublished novella that I plugged in, I got...

I write like
Isaac Asimov

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

And for everything else I plugged in (and remember I was procrastinating and wasting time, so I plugged in more than a few), I got...

I write like
Stephen King

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I find this last hysterically funny since I have never read anything by Stephen King. Oh wait, I take that back. I've read a stage adaptation of his novel Misery. But that's it.

Okay. Enough amusement for now. Time to make some lunch and get back to work.

08 July 2010

Good politics! Who knew they were out there?

You know I try not to get political around here, but as a raging liberal (sometimes literally raging) and a writer of gay erotica, sometimes I have to. This time, there's good news!

See, there's this hateful bullshit of a thing here in the US called "The Defense of Marriage Act". It was basically spearheaded and put in place by bigoted, fearful, and hateful people and it banned (note the past tense because the happy is coming) gay marriage at the federal level, which is a big problem for the few states that have legal same-sex marriage. Well, today, at long freaking last, the "Federal gay marriage ban is ruled unconstitutional". We've had, and continue to have, problems with lawmakers allowing their personal prejudices, and the prejudices of people with a lot of money to spend to back their hate, to make law. What these people tend to forget is that we in the US have this nifty document. It's called THE CONSTITUTION and it says stuff about "all men [being] created equal" and the right to "the pursuit of happiness" and such. We also have this other nifty document called THE BILL OF RIGHTS. Have I read the whole thing? Either of them? Well, no. I admit that parts of it just get a bit dry for me. Point is, there are those who have and who focus specifically on Constitutional Law. I have great respect for these people, and I love it when one of them can prove, from that brilliant source material, that someone else's bigoted opinion is just that: opinion. Not something upon which a law can or should be based. Opinions, belief systems, and what have you, have no place in the legal process, and this judge just called bullshit. I now proceed to happy dance. ::happy dances::

There's another interesting posting about it here: Federal Court Holds DOMA Unconstitutional I don't know anything about the site, but that article makes for interesting reading.

Score one for the good guys!

ETA: I'm skimming the Constitution (I said it gets dry in parts) and just came across this:
Article IV, Section 2:
The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.
I'm no law student, but I would guess this relates (in part) to the whole you're-married-in-state-A-therefore-your-marriage-is-legally-recognized-in-states-B-through-Z thing.

06 July 2010

Gearing up to party!

Edits are in and prizes are confirmed! I'm so jazzed about this next release I can't even tell you! I've said many times that my first literary love is fantasy, and it is. But coming very, very close on its heels is sci-fi. I am not joking when I say that I read Asimov's Foundation Trilogy when I was in sixth grade. Did I understand its full depth and meaning? HELL NO! But I read it and I enjoyed it (and one of these years I'll read it again and maybe I'll get a few more of the layers ;-) ). Yes, folks, I grew up on a diet of J.R.R. Tolkien, Andre Norton, Isaac Asimov, Susan Cooper, William Sleator, and Ray Bradbury. Sure, I read some Judy Bloom...but I didn't like it. And I never read Beverly Cleary. :-P So the fact that I have a space opera coming out is very exciting!

So, the details on the party:
Dates: 23-26 July
Theme: Sci-fi Summer Barbecue! (I have no idea what that means, but we'll figure it out.)
Prizes: A fabulous False Dawn coffee mug (since my characters drink a lot of coffee when they can get it) and a free download of the book!
There will be an excerpt one of those days, and extra scene on release day. There might even be a character interview. We'll see if I can pin anyone down on that. They are very busy people, these characters.

Check back as the date approaches! Standard rules apply: post a comment to be entered to win. It's that simple!

See you soon!

01 July 2010

Next steps taken

I sent the proofed manuscript for False Dawn back to my editor today. Despite the stupid summer cold, I found the brain cells to read it one more time and make the tiny tweaks it needed to make it extra-fabulous.

I spent much of yesterday (when I was much lighter on brain power) making things on Vistaprint. Can you say "blog party prize"? I knew you could! ;-)

28 June 2010

Busy, busy

I got my admin doc back to my editor, including an extra scene written especially for release day for False Dawn, and now I'm going through the edits from the FLE (that's Final Line Editor, in case you don't know the term). We're in the home stretch now!

I'm thinking of throwing a blog party to celebrate the new release. I mean, we all like to celebrate, right? And every new release deserves a party! Since release day is 26 July, which is high summer here in the northern hemisphere, I'm thinking a barbecue is in order. So, with that in mind, check back for a long-weekend barbecue! There'll be burgers and grilled veggies. Maybe we'll even throw a pizza on the coals, who knows? And s'mores. There must be s'mores. And maybe a prize or two. ;-)

07 June 2010

Cover art!

New cover arrived today! Whee! It is made of awesome and I *heart* it!

See? Is it not gorgeous? :D :D ::happy dances::

11 May 2010

Gaining momentum

Finished up my edits on False Dawn, my novella that's coming out from Torquere this July. Finished up the cover art form, too. Good thing, since I'm going on vacation very soon. It's great to get this ball rolling again, I must say! What I hate most about writing isn't the writing, or the editing, or the submitting manuscripts to publishers (even though I complain every time about having to write a godsdamned synopsis). It's the waiting. Waiting to hear if they want the book. Waiting for edits. Waiting for the cover art. Waiting for release day. Have I told you I'm an instant gratification junkie? I'm sure I have. Inigo Montoya said it best when he said, "I hate waiting." But now edits are in, form is in. It's out of my hands and...I wait. Ah well. At least the view is good from here. :)

24 April 2010

It's Official!

I'm so jazzed about this I can't even type! No, really. My fingers aren't typing right now, it's a figment of your imaginations. The following, however, is entirely REAL:


Whee! Woo-hoo! Huzzah! Huge, HUGE congratulations, my dear, on your well-deserved win! And congratulations to the winners of all the other categories, too! You'll find them all on that RT link above. Go check it out, and then READ A WINNER!

29 March 2010

Easter Egg Hunt!

LASR's Easter Egg Hunt is on! Go check out their site to see all the fantastic prizes you could win!

12 March 2010

Easter Egg Hunt Approaches

I'm taking part in the Easter Egg Hunt being put on by the fabulous folks at The Long and Short of It. It's starting at the end of March and there will be fabulous prizes to be won! Check out their website for more information, and get ready to go hunting!

25 February 2010

Blog Party Winner!

Here it is. The moment you've all been waiting for. The winner of the free ecopy of I Put a Spell on You, contaning not only my short story, Play Music, Play Magic, but EIGHT MORE fabulous m/m/f stories, is...


Woo-hoo! Email me at maiastrong (at) maiastrong [dot] com and I'll get that sent out to you right away.

Thanks to everyone who came to party with me! I look forward to partying with you again this summer when my novella, False Dawn, is realeased!

24 February 2010

Party Day Three - Release Day!

Woo-hoo! Today's the day! Play Music, Play Magic is officially released. Oh yeah, and there are other fabulous stories in this magic-themed anthology, I Put a Spell on You. As a special release day bonus, I have a "missing scene". (I can't call it a "deleted scene" because, well, it wasn't deleted; it was written later. I know, I know. Semantics. Shut up and get on with it, Maia!)

Okay, here it is. Another little taste to get you excited for the whole story!


Rhys awoke with a smile on his face. Perhaps he’d been dreaming of Isaac. Yawning, he reached out under the covers, knowing that his husband’s side of the bed would have long since gone cold. As early as Isaac rose, Rhys slept late. It was now well past dawn and the sheets were chilly to his touch.

He sat up and pushed back the covers, shivering at the change of temperature. Finding his soft-soled house shoes nearby, he slipped them over his bare feet and clambered over the bed to the edge of the sleeping loft, the soft cotton flannel of his loose pants tugging against the wool of the blankets. He climbed down the ladder to the main room of the little house.

Smile still on his face, whether from forgotten dreams or a sense of what the day would bring, he went into the kitchen. On the table was a note from Isaac. Every day, as regular and reliable as the bells in the cathedral tower, he left one there.

Rhys’s smile widened as he read the single scrawled sentence. Then he set the note back on the table, placed a clean mug for tea beside it, and went to heat water. He would wash, breakfast, and set to work—and spend the day in anticipation of the sweet promise in his husband’s love note.


Don't forget, you have until midnight PST tonight to comment on any blog party post to be entered to win a copy of I Put a Spell on You including Play Music, Play Magic. I'll announce the winner here tomorrow, so remember to swing by and see if you've won!

23 February 2010

Party Day Two - Music!

In Play Music, Play Magic, Wand'ring Minstrel Noula Tuomi uses music to weave a magical web around herself and her lovers. A lot of writers, me included, like to write with a soundtrack in the background. It doesn't always manifest in the end product. One of the tenderest sex scenes I've ever written was written to a soundtrack of '80s hair metal, while a light BDSM scene was written to a mix of Dar Williams songs. Yes, my brain can be a very strange place to live.

Music can have a profound effect on one's mood, but it isn't always the effect one might expect. So my question to you is, what music puts you "in the mood"? You know the mood I mean. ;-)

And don't forget, your comments are your entries to win an ebook. And guess what? It's not just Play Music, Play Magic, but the whole I Put a Spell on You anthology!

22 February 2010

Party Day One - Excerpt!

Welcome, one and all! We're partying here for the next three days in celebration of my new release, Play Music, Play Magic, part of the Torquere anthology I Put a Spell on You. This story is in the same universe as my first two books, but in a town we've only heard of in passing before. This is only a short visit to the small coastal city of Yanto (one extra entry into the drawing for the first person who can guess where that name came from), Kanbec. In this tale, you'll meet Isaac Fisher and his husband Rhys Silverthorn, and their dear friend, Wand'ring Minstrel Noula Tuomi.

Isaac and Rhys are delighted when Noula Tuomi arrives in town. Noula and Isaac have been close friends and lovers for many years, and when Rhys became a part of Isaac's life, she embraced him and his relationship to her old friend without hesitation. Now, the three share company and comfort whenever she's in town. As with every visit, Isaac hopes that she'll decide stay. But Noula is a Wand'ring Minstrel. Some Minstrels do retire and some do settle down, but will Noula? And will it be this time? Each of the trio privately ponders this question, but even these heavy thoughts can't detract from their enjoyment of one another and the magic that Noula brings.

Here's a nibble to whet your appetite.


Putting such heavy thoughts aside, Rhys let himself relax into the music.

He didn't know the song she played, but it hardly mattered. Noula's music was… enchanting. The notes intertwined like a tapestry growing on the loom of a master weaver. Complex, subtle, haunting. Beautiful. He'd listened closely to every Wand'ring Minstrel he had ever come across -- here in Yanto, back in Western Zephren, and everywhere in between -- and no one he had heard could do what Noula could do. And with such a deceptively simple instrument as a recorder.

Simple. There was nothing simple about what was happening. Colors and light that had nothing to do with the candle lanterns began to swirl slowly around the edges of his vision. Rhys sighed and leaned into his husband, resting his head on Isaac's strong shoulder. Isaac reached an arm around him, kissed him on the top of his head. For that suspended moment, everything was perfect in Rhys' world.

Subtly, the tone of the music changed. Where before it had buoyed him on pillows of flannel stuffed with the softest down, now it grew sleeker and less cozy, and yet no less welcoming. He floated on the melody, rich as silk, spicy as cinnamon, and exotic as the island paradise Noula had spoken of earlier. The music flowed over his skin and into his blood, warming it from within. The heat grew and centered itself quite deliciously in his groin, and he grew hard.

Isaac's arm around him squeezed a little tighter, and Rhys opened eyes he hadn't realized had fallen shut. The colors he had seen in the room had continued behind his eyelids, and now, as he opened them, those swirls and eddies of rainbow light were there with him in the room again, too. He turned his head and looked deep into his husband's jet-black eyes, sparkling like obsidian with every flicker of light. He didn't have to look down or reach out a hand to know that Isaac felt what he felt. Craved what he craved.

Together, they turned and looked at Noula. She played on, but a knowing and eager twinkle was in her eyes.

Wordless and as one, the three of them rose from the table and headed for the ladder to the sleeping loft. Noula played the men up, bringing the tune to a suspended end as they reached the top. Pocketing her recorder, she climbed up after them, humming as she went.


If you liked that, you'll love what comes next! Too bad you have to wait until Wednesday to find out what that is. ;->

Remember, comment on this or any post during the blog party to be entered to win a free copy of Play Music, Play Magic!

20 February 2010


This blog has been sorely neglected of late, and for that I apologize. I've been scattering my energy, and therefore my focus, in too many directions lately and when that happens, something inevitably falls through the cracks. But there is hope! In fact there is...


That's right. My short story, Play Music, Play Magic, is coming out in the anthology I Put a Spell on You from Torquere on 24 February. (Holy crap! That's WEDNESDAY! *eep!*) So check in Monday through Wednesday this week for an excerpt (just one - it's a short story, after all), perhaps a visit with the characters, and a bonus scene on release day. And, of course, there will be a CONTEST. Just leave a comment on any of the party posts and you'll be entered to win a free download of Play Music, Play Magic.

I'm looking foward to partying with you guys!

15 January 2010

Pantser goodness

It's moments like this that make me love that I'm a panster and not a plotter. Okay, it can be a bit trying at times when your characters don't do what you intended them to do, but it's so wonderful when they do something completely unexpected. I can't help but grin right now. Yay for spontineity!

12 January 2010

Guest Blog on NNN

Check out my post over on Nine Naughty Novelists. Stop by, say hi, hang out. I'll be in and out today, replying to any comments. There's even an excerpt... ;-)

11 January 2010

Guest Blogging

FYI, I'll be guest blogging at Nine Naughty Novelists tomorrow. Stop by and check it out!

Oh! and the antho that was coming out this Wednesday? Yeah. Well... Rescheduled until 24 February. Ah well! More time to plan a party, right? :-D

03 January 2010

Quick Update

Just a quick FYI to anyone reading that I've turned on a couple of comment moderation settings. I hate to do it, but the spammers are clearly bored right now and I'm sick of having to delete their shit from my blog. So please bare with me and jump through the new hoops because I do love to hear from real people with real comments. Thanks!

01 January 2010

Happy New Year + Quizzage!

I hope everyone had a fun and safe New Year's Eve! Around here, we celebrated "2010: The Year We Make Contact" (thank you Arthur C. Clarke) with space-themed costumes, music, and movies. All in all, it was a very fun evening!

I looked for a good New Year quiz for today, but failed utterly. So instead, here's a quiz that seems reasonably appropriate to the day--at least for me. And if you stayed up to ring in the new year, you might find it appropriate, too.

You Are an Espresso

At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic

At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung

You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping

Your caffeine addiction level: high